Dear Professor Whitty & Mr. Matthew Hancock,
We are writing to express our concern over the continued restrictions and temporary policies in maternity care. Implemented during the initial outbreak of the Covid Pandemic, such restrictions were prudent but now, as lockdown eases and some NHS trusts are beginning to revert these rules, many others are continuing to restrict the rights of healthy pregnant women and birthing people for no apparent medical reason. We believe that the restrictions currently in place due to the Covid outbreak are not necessary, not based on scientific evidence, are disrespecting human rights and are not proportionate to achieve the objective of limiting the spread of the virus.
Right now, many NHS Trusts across the country are limiting birth partners to one and in other countries, birth partners are being stopped altogether. We are starting to see the cancellation of many homebirth services and birth centres are being shut down and used to isolate women with confirmed or suspected Coronavirus. This means for many women, the only place to have their baby, with the support of medically trained staff, is on an obstetric led ward in the hospital.
When we communicate with women before, during, and after childbirth, we need to be very sensitive with the words we choose as we put information across, and the tone of voice in which we communicate.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a free training event at Effra Space in London run by the charity Birthrights. It was not the first time that I attended a Birthrights’ event, and as a matter of fact, I’m a big fan of this charity and pledge a monthly donation to support the organisation.
Kicki Hansard is a member of Doula UK, however any opinions expressed on this blog are personal views and not necessarily the view of Doula UK.